A Spanish startup called Quaternium has developed a drone that can fly for six times longer than existing models.
The Valencian company may hold the answer to one of the biggest limitations to commercial drone usage: flight autonomy. Until now, maximum flight time for commercial drones has averaged at 25 minutes, but Quaternium’s multirotor HYBRiX drone is about to change this.
Electric multicopters can usually fly for just over 25 minutes, meaning they have to be recharged several times during the course of a workday. This presents obstacles to professional use, as well as posing a safety hazard by forcing operators to carry lithium batteries around with them for recharging.
To overcome these drawbacks, the Quaternium team has developed a hybrid technology that achieves flight times six times higher than those of models currently on the market. This is made possible by a range extender that transforms fuel from a small combustion engine to electric power for the propellers, allowing a maximum flight time of up to 4 hours without refueling.
The startup expects HYBRiX to be instrumental in developing industrial applications that are limited by existing drone technology. Quaternium’s founder, Jose Luis Cortes, hopes that it will become an effective alternative to helicopters and aircraft for commercial use, particularly in sectors such as emergency response, precision agriculture, infrastructure and surveying, and aerial filming.
The drone will be unveiled at the Global Robot Expo conference in Madrid later this month. 2016 will see Quaternium begin shipping in Spain, where the commercial UAV market is still relatively undeveloped.
For more info visit http://www.quaternium.com/